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It’s great to live in a time where so many problems have solutions. Advances in technology, especially polymers, have allowed doctors to steadily replace pieces of you to keep you going in case of defect and accident.
For teeth, there’s an ingrained dread of what happens when you lose a tooth? So much of density is about preserving teeth. So, you probably have some questions about dental implants.
If you’ve not heard a whole lot about dental implants, that’s to be expected. The technology has only been around for a few decades. Still, the popularity is growing with projections showing that over 12% of Americans will have at least one by 2026.
The following goes over the common questions that need answers to be informed bout this exciting, and effective, replacement option.
Questions About Dental Implants
With any medical procedure, there’s an apprehension to face. What are the risks, what are the costs, etc? There’s always a risk with any surgery that puts you under anesthetic and implants require that.
IMplants cost between $2000 and $5000 depending on your overall health and the materials as well as prices in your area.
This will focus on the specifics related to implants themselves.
1. Are Implants The Only Option?
No. There are several different missing tooth replacement options.
Implants specialize in spot replacements. If you need four teeth replaced throughout the mouth it is the ideal choice.
For a two-tooth or larger gap, a partial denture can work better. The costs and materials are all factors in which procedure will get you the result you need.
Few people have the luxury of all the time and money, so compromises and serviceability sometimes win over ‘best’.
Whatever option you choose, know that they aren’t mutually exclusive. Once you start replacing components, you can also always replace more or replace the replacement with other things.
The only thing that can’t be done (currently, but advances happen!) is regrowing an original tooth.
2. What Is a Dental Implant?
The actual dental implant is not one thing but three. The three parts are installed over a period of time and form a completed implant.
The delay between the parts has led to some confusion because they overlap with other dental procedures.
The first step is the placing of a screw inside the jaw. This is usually a titanium rod that grows into the bone of the jaw. Once the screw is set and the bone has grown into it, then the post can be attached.
A post is another metal bit that screws into the rod. On top of a post, a cap or crown is molded. The cap or crown is very similar to the type you would get after a root canal.
The difference is that in a root canal the cap covers your tooth and a filling. In both cases, the cap prevents damage to the underlying bits and, can be easily replaced if it becomes damaged.
3. Can Anyone Get an Implant?
Not everyone can get an implant. If the bone density in the jaw is too low, the rod won’t stay and the whole structure could rip out. Ouch.
When a person is declared unfit for an implant, they can turn to partial dentures or bridges, which anchor on the surrounding teeth.
It’s also possible to get grafts to replenish the bone density so that the jaw will support an implant.
4. Why Should I Get an Implant?
Missing even a single tooth can create a domino effect in your mouth.
It’s commonly recommended that people get their wisdom teeth extracted before adulthood because it gives the other teeth more room to set and grow in the jaw without compressing.
Implants work in the same way. With too much space, teeth have nothing to anchor against, which lets them get loose and allows more space for food and bacteria to hang out. The biggest benefits of dental implants are maintaining your bite shape and preventing loosening.
Like most systems in the body, a proper balance without too much or too little is the best way to retain optimal health.
5. What’s the Lifecycle of an Implant?
It takes between six and eight months to get an implant. This accommodates the time for the bone to integrate and for the post and cap to be formed and placed in.
Once an implant is in place it is rather strong. Even the strongest materials still don’t hold up as well as your natural teeth.
The rod and post will last a lifetime or roughly forty years. The cap depends on many of the same habits that preserve your real teeth. A cap lasts a minimum of seven years without impact damage. Different manufacturers offer warranties between 10 and 40 years based on the material.
6. Will Insurance Pay for Implants?
This question is complicated. Better insurance will cover implants for patience but typically only one or two a year.
Implants are largely considered cosmetic surgery at the moment. The industry is working to change that assumption and get implants viewed as necessary.
Even insurers that don’t cover the surgical costs for the rod and post will cover the cap or crown the same as they would for a root canal.
If you need implants after suffering trauma, such as from a car accident, then surgery can be covered as a medical insurance expense outside of dental insurance.
7. Can My Regular Dentist Give Me an Implant?
Most dentists can apply the crown portion of the implant. Again, this follows roughly the same training and materials as a root canal cap.
The rod is placed by an oral surgeon which not all dentists are.
Typically oral surgeons work on referrals from patients and other dentists. They will communicate with your regular dentist to confirm your overall oral hygiene plan.
Some offices offer all of this in one location but many do not. The operating theatre needed for surgery is specialized whereas many dental procedures need less specialized space.
Stay Up To Date
There are always more questions about dental implants that might pop into your head. Ask your dentists to walk you through the information and decide if the procedure is a good choice for you.
Come back here for more information on medical advances in your world.